In Defense of: That Kid in Precept
That Whiz Kid
This kid is either a descendant of Einstein, spent his childhood reading Sartre or sneaks into Firestone past closing time in order to read every single book in the stacks. The master of allusions and a mathematical genius: Every response from this kid sounds like an excerpt from an A-plus thesis. Though there’s no avoiding the insecurity and relative smallness you might feel while listening to his graduate-level responses, you can comfort yourself with the thought that this kid is wasting his time and tuition in our idiotic graces while you're actually learning something in precept. Doesn’t he have a textbook to be writing anyway?
That Kid with the Absurdly Fast Reflexes
Although this kid might not be the smartest one in the precept, he never misses an opportunity to answer a question. Whether he knows the answer or not, his hand shoots into the air, and it’s easy to start wishing he would stop attending precept and just enter the Olympic Development Program as a soccer goalie already. Yet you can find two perfectly acceptable responses to this behavior to turn things in your favor. On weeks when you put precept reading on the back burner, you can comfort yourself with the fact that you just wouldn’t be able to participate anyway. And if you’re feeling inspired, an uneventful precept can become a hilarious game. You can skip your afternoon workout and engage this kid in a brutal game of hand raising — nothing feels better than a victory.
That Kid Who Regurgitates the Textbook
Less brilliant than the whiz kid but just as robotic as the reflex kid, the textbook regurgitator must sleep with his textbook under his pillow or have a remarkably efficient photographic memory. While it may be a bit irksome and boring to listen to him repeating the textbook’s explanation of the Phillips curve verbatim, this kid saves you from the drudgery of slugging through the textbook yourself. Let’s face it: No one wanted to read Chapter Nine.
That Kid Whose Political Philosophy Magically Aligns with the Professor's
You know the times in lecture when the professor says, “This won’t be on the exam, but it’s an interesting real life application for us to consider?" Some of us take that as an opportunity to put down our pens and reflect upon the material, while for others this is a cue to predictably check our Facebook feeds or pretend to read The New York Times on our laptops. But this kid jots down every word the professor says with admirable ferocity. There are two explanations for his behavior. Either he’s a registered Republican who takes precept as an opportunity to repeat the professor’s undeniably liberal policy suggestions in a transparent attempt to charm the equally liberal preceptor and earn a few brownie points, or his political philosophy really is exactly identical to that of the professor. Although his boldness and maddening condescension may make the first few precepts insufferable, egging this kid on turns a dry precept into an entertaining, and completely unproductive, political tirade.
That Kid Who Is Too Cool for Precept but Still Manages To Ace the Class
Strolling in halfway through precept, plugged into Dr. Dre headphones and carting a Small World coffee and half-unzipped backpack, this kid clearly feels that showing up to precept on time is for the grade-grubbers. Annoyed by his apathetic (and rare) appearance, you temporarily delude yourself into thinking that he’ll bring down the curve until you find out that this kid set the curve on the midterm. Irritatingly laid-back while infuriatingly brilliant, it’s understandable to resent his indifferent presence. But just when you feel like chucking away your precept participation points by snoozing off in the middle of class, this kid stumbles into precept and provides a burst of entertainment (and motivation) to get you through to the end. If you suck up to him enough, maybe he’ll bring you a mid-class caffeine boost too.
As we sigh at ridiculous behavior or feel insecure about our inferior reflexes or brains, it’s more important to realize how these people play a role in the charade that is precept. "That kid" is actually brilliant, entertaining or laughter-inducing. Hey, maybe we even want to be in that kid’s section next semester after all.